Tag Archives: proposals

The Debate on Economic Governance Intensifies in the EU

The Van Rompuy task force on economic governance has produced its report that will be discussed during the European Council meeting on 28 October. According to Mr. Van Rompuy this will be the biggest reform of the Economic and Monetary Union since the euro was created.

The most important provision is about creating a mechanism for macro-economic surveillance. The mechanism will serve as an early warning system for detecting substantial macroeconomic imbalances, including strong divergences in competitiveness. The mechanism will operate for eurozone member states.

The second reform concerns the corrective arm of the Stability and Growth Pact. The debt criterion will carry much more weight when deciding on the excessive deficit procedure. According to Euractiv the task force has also endorsed plans for an interest-bearing fine on countries with high debts. The task force has also endorsed the European Semester for the coordination of budget planning.

The new proposals may need the revision of the Treaties. Le Figaro reports that France and Germany have agreed on such a revision in 2013 (hat tip: OpenEurope).

In summary, the report of the task force will generally repeat the proposals of the Commission on European economic governance. The big question, however, remains – will these proposals suffice to reverse current macroeconomic imbalances in the eurozone and the EU in general. Economists remain sceptical, and if we do not manage those imbalances, all other political measures will have only incremental value.

Proposals on Deposit Guarantees and Investor Protection

The Commission has proposed amendments on the EU legal framework for deposit guarantee schemes, investor protection schemes and has launched a public consultation on options to improve protection for insurance policy holders.

On deposit guarantee schemes the Commission proposes:

  • Upgrade of deposit protection to € 100 000 by the end of 2010;
  • Bank account holders will be reimbursed within seven days;
  • Deposit schemes in the country of residence will provide administrative support for deposit claims from failing banks in other Member States;
  • A new easy to understand standard template for deposit guarantee schemes;
  • A four-step approach for funding deposit guarantee schemes – ex-ante financing, ex-post contributions, mutual borrowing among deposit schemes, and contingency funding arrangements.

On investor protection the amendments are:

  • Increase of protection to € 50 000 per investor;
  • Compensation at the latest 9 months after the investment firm’s failure;
  • A minimum target fund level will be introduced which needs to be fully pre-funded;
  • Expansion of protection to cover third-party custodian failure.

The Commission Proposals for Coordination of Economic Governance

The Commission has issued a communication on reform of economic governance in the eurozone, called “Reinforcing economic policy coordination”. EUobserver reports that the proposals have drawn an immediate rebuke from Sweden.

Here’s a list of major proposals:

Improving the functioning of existing mechanisms under the Stability and Growth Pact

• Increase effectiveness of Stability and Convergence Programmes assessments through better ex-ante coordination, including competitiveness developments and underlying structural challenges. This will be done by a scoreboard with details on developments in current accounts, net foreign asset positions, productivity, unit labour costs, employment, and real effective exchange rates, as well as public debt and private sector credit and asset prices.

• National fiscal frameworks to better reflect the priorities of EU budgetary surveillance. This would include formulation of more timely country-specific recommendations, a system of early peer-review of national budgets, a horizontal assessment of the eurozone fiscal stance

Addressing high public debt and safeguarding long-term fiscal sustainability

• Give new prominence to the debt criterion of the Treaty. Conditionality would typically involve an appropriate mix of fiscal consolidation and the strengthening of fiscal governance including tax policies; financial sector stabilisation to the extent that financial sector distress is at the root of the public finances problems; and broader policy interventions to restore macroeconomic stability and external viability.

• Take better account of the interplay between debt and deficit

Better incentives and sanctions to comply with the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact

• Interest-bearing deposits in case of inadequate fiscal policies

• More rigorous and conditional use of EU expenditure to ensure better compliance with the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact

• Recurrent breaches of the Pact to be subjected to more speedy treatment and more rigorous use of the Cohesion Fund Regulation